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Ideology and identity: A psychoanalytic investigation of a social phenomenon

Hinshelwood, Robert D (2009) 'Ideology and identity: A psychoanalytic investigation of a social phenomenon.' Psychoanalysis, Culture & Society, 14 (2). pp. 131-148. ISSN 1088-0763

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Abstract

This paper uses psychoanalytic thinking to understand the way individuals come to be in a social group that develops an ideology. LeBon was one of the earliest to consider destructive groups and the distortion of individuality within crowds and mobs, and his work formed the basis of Freud's thinking. Destructive groups are contrasted with constructive ones that can achieve creative and work-oriented functioning. Destructive groups have various characteristics, one of which is the place that ideas have in the group and in the minds of the members. When ideas become overvalued and thus an ideology, the relation between the individual and the ideas changes. On one hand, in ordinary constructive work and groups, the idea is an abstract notion useable in aspirations and achievements; and on the other hand, in ideological and destructive groups, the individual is equated with the idea, which becomes an end in itself. This movement involves the pressure of social forces upon forms of individual distress that affects their sense of themselves. Following Freud's views on the group ideal, it is possible to understand the excitement in primitive destructive groups, their unreality and the erosion of individuality as coming from the equation of self with the ideal.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 13 Jan 2012 15:41
Last Modified: 16 Dec 2014 11:20
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/2014

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